Assassin’s Creed has become one of the biggest franchises in gaming history, but way back in 2007, it was just a small game with a unique combat system and one thing that no other game had the Hidden Blade. If you ask me, every videogame needs an iconic weapon to go along with it. If you don’t agree, let me give a few of the videogame stars throughout the years and the weapons that have come to define them. Link from the Legend of Zelda has The Master Sword, Doom Slayer has the BFG, and Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid had the silenced pistol. The Hidden Blade has become as much a part of the franchise as the stealth aspect has.
I started my Assassin’s Creed Journey began with the very first one all of those years ago. The first thing I found that gripped me was the combat system, which felt more like a rhymic dance than a fighting system. It was animation-heavy, but man, it was impactful, it was brutal, and it just felt good. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t much of a stealth action fan and often opted to face situations head-on. Luckily, Assassin’s Creed has always given you some great options when it comes to combat, and I’ve always found that endearing, especially when it comes to the Hidden Blade abilities.
The Hidden Blade isn’t just a tool for stealth, but rather a weapon that can grow and be upgraded and serves several kinds of purposes throughout. Each and every Assassin who has graced the cover of an Assassin’s Creed game has found themselves with some form of the Hidden Blade, so let’s explore what this iconic weapon has to offer.
Who Uses the Hidden Blade?
The Hidden Blade is essentially a right of passage weapon given to those of the Assassin’s guild throughout all of the Assassin’s Creed games. This weapon is hidden up your wrist, and it is activated with a flick of the wrist. The origins of the blade are interesting, with one of the first Assasins, Darius, using it to kill King Xerxes I. After that, his descendant Aya gave it to her husband Bayek, who cuts his finger off with the blade during the events of Assassin’s Creed: Origins. This would become a ritual the Assassins would use going forward, requiring any new recruit to amputate their ring finger in order to officially join the guild.
The first Assassin to use it in the series is Altair, and from there, you progress through the history of the world to see the stories of all the different Assassins that lived. That list is Ezio Auditore, Connor Kenway, Edward Kenway, Arno Dorian, Jacob Frye, Evie Frye, Bayek of Siwa, Aya of Alexandria, and Eivor Varrinsdottir. While these are the characters you’ll play as throughout the series, there are tons of other Assassins that you’ll encounter throughout the series that will either help you or hinder you.
As the series continues on, you will see that the Templars adopt something called the Templar’s Pin, which is their version of the Hidden Blade, which performs the same function.
How Has the Hidden Blade Evolved Through the Games?
The Hidden Blade has changed much throughout the history of Assassin’s Creed, but one of the earliest changes to it comes with the lack of need to have the ring finger amputated. Assassins began to be easily tracked through the sight of a lack of their ring finger, so Altair decided to get some alterations done to the blade to make it more secretive as to who might be an assassin or not. This alteration changed where the blade would come from, and now instead of essentially becoming the new ring finger, the blade would slide out from the wrist, allowing an Assassin to bend their hand back when performing a kill and saving any fingers from being cut off.
Throughout the series, several inventors will get their hands on the Hidden Blade, who will alter the blade a good amount. Leonard Da Vinci is among them, and he will not only alter your Hidden Blade throughout the games you meet him, but he’ll also build you some new techniques as well.
How Do You Use the Hidden Blade?
The way you use the Hidden Blade changes from game to game, but largely, it’s used to perform assassinations. Regardless of the game, you’re playing, if you’re able to sneak up on your target undetected, you will be able to press a button and perform a lightning quick but incredibly deadly stab with the Hidden Blade that generally takes out your target in one hit.
Several games in the series treat the Hidden Blade not only as an instakill assassination weapon but also as one that you can use in melee combat. While it’s not as damaging as some of the swords and axes you’ll come across throughout your Assassin’s Creed journey, you can attack very quickly with the Hidden Blade, and it opens up your enemies for fast finisher moves if you can break their guard with it as well.
What Are the Variations of the Hidden Blade?
Several games in the series let you upgrade the Hidden Blade, making it far more viable in many situations. Here are some of the different kinds of alterations you’ll find in the games.
When you acquire the Poison Blade in Assassin’s Creed, you’ll be able to inject poison with every use of it, so if you stab an enemy with it during combat, it will slowly whittle away his health until you can deal the killing blow or they die on their own. It can also be used to just poke people with unassumingly, only for them to die a short time later. You can use this inconspicuously in Assassin’s Creed to thin out an enemy crowd or get the guard’s attention elsewhere.
Although the Assassins have long been against the use of guns, preferring blades for a quieter approach, Altair created the Hidden Gun as a way to even the odds against the enemy. This design was written in his notes, which were later found by Leonardo Divinci, who in turn built the weapon for Ezio in Assassin’s Creed II.
Poison Dart Launcher
The Poison Dart launcher becomes available to you in Assassin’s Creed II, and it does exactly what it says. It gives you a long-distance option to take out enemies with and is substantially quieter than the hidden gun, making it an integral piece of equipment to Ezio throughout the game.
Much like the Hidden Gun, the Hidden Bolt places a crossbow inside the Hidden Blade. It’s a quieter but slightly weaker means of assassinating your targets with.
This blade differs greatly from the Hidden Blade. Instead of a single, thin blade that protrudes, the Two-Pronged Blade was multiple thin blades placed right next to each other for a more complete kill.
The Hook Blade has a unique ability that allows you to grab enemies with the hook, stab them and then throw them as well. It can also be used to snatch an enemy’s inventory, often leading to some big paydays depending on who you are looking to loot. This move will often lead to enemies being confused about where their money has gone. Ezio gets use to this one throughout his travels as well.
The Phantom Blade makes its first appearance in Assassin’s Creed: Unity and is essentially a Hidden Blade that can be fired without anyone knowing what’s happening. You will find Armo as the one who wields this clever weapon. It can be loaded up with two different kinds of bolts, with one of the options being a berserk blade that causes enemies to freak out and fight each other.
This blade is powered by electricity, meaning it’s highly more efficient than the non-technologically powered Hidden Blades mentioned above. It uses electricity to cauterize the wound on the inside. Instead of the one blade, you’ve got two blades side by side here, making for a much more deadly attack as well.
The Composite Blade is a fascinating adaptation of the Hidden Blade that lets you build the blade at any time, whenever you need it. It’s interesting because it’s not made up with some expert collection of materials but rather random household items. The blade is not used in the games by any playable Assassin but rather by Callum Lynch in the present day while attempting to kill the Grand Master Allan Rikkin.
How Does Each Game Handle the Hidden Blade?
Each game handles how the Hidden Blade gets used a bit differently. This concerns everything from how quickly you can access the blade to the positioning of your character behind potential targets. Some games require you to perform normal target assassinations differently from the ones required by the story, so let’s check out what changes from game to game.
The first Assassin’s Creed game had a ton of Hidden Blade involvement in it. Not only does it get used for every story assassination, but in combat, even if you’re attacking opponents with a different weapon, you always land the killing blow with your Hidden Blade regardless.
Assassin’s Creed II
In the second game in the series, Ezio gets a handful of upgrades to the Hidden Blade throughout the journey. One of the most important upgrades is that of the double Hidden Blade, which allows you to take out two targets at the same time, granted they’re standing next to each other. This double Hidden Blade would come in handy during combat, too, as you’d now be twice as deadly in close range while still able to pull off quick assassinations once an enemy’s guard is broken.
Assassin’s Creed III
The Hidden Blade here gets treated a little differently, and one of the biggest changes is the Pivot Blade. This turns the Hidden Blade into a dagger that allows you to quickly dispose of enemies easily in close combat while also allowing you to perform assassinations and also skinning animals. This was the first game where the Hidden Blade could really be relied on as a primary weapon in combat and not just a counter and kill option.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Edward Kenway is one of the series’ favorites, and in Black Flag, you get two Hidden Blades from the get-go, giving you tons of flexibility for melee combat and opening up several slick dual finishers in the midst of battle. The upgrades here aren’t as extensive as in the past, but due to Edward’s pirate ways, it makes sense he goes for the raw form of the Hidden Blades.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity
A big change hit with Assassin’s Creed: Unity in that the Hidden Blade was no longer usable as a weapon in combat. You get equipped with it early on in the game, but it’s strictly used for assassination attempts. You get several unique skills like air assassinations to change things up a bit, but the lack of being able to use it in melee combat is jarring after having it become a standby in the main games of the series up to this point.
Assassin’s Creed: Rogue
In Assassin’s Creed: Rogue, you play as Shay Kormac, a Templar. This was a big change for the series, but even though you play as a Templar, you will use the Hidden Blade here as well. Shay is a former assassin, so he has use of all the different kinds of techniques that an assassin would normally have. Combat is flexible here, but one noted omission is that you won’t be able to use the Hidden Blade while engaged in combat, so while you can do techniques like a sprinting or leaping assassination to open up a combat scenario, once your enemies square off with you, you’ll need to resort to more conventional weapons.
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
The Frye twins, Jacob and Evie, get access to the Gauntlet, which is a refined form of the Hidden Blade and has a rope launcher equipped to it that lets them traverse the city at a fast pace. The Hidden Blade again is not able to be used in melee combat here and is strictly used as an assassination tool. Jacob will pull out the Hidden Blade during certain combos to damage enemies, but it’s no longer an equippable weapon.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins
The Assassin’s Creed franchise got a big-time rebuild with Assassin’s Creed: Origins. With that came a restructure to the combat and, again, the Hidden Blade. Here, the Hidden Blade is at its rawest form, as Bayek is the first person to lose a finger while attempting to use it. Here, you cannot use the Hidden Blade for anything but assassinations. There is also a complete lack of upgrades for it, as action is far more emphasized here, so it’s somewhat understandable it would take a step back.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
Due to the success of Origins, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey drifted even further from the realism of the established Assassin’s Creed world, and with that came the elimination entirely of the Hidden Blade. Instead, you will be using the broken spear of Leonidas in order to perform your assassinations. In my opinion, it’s both a boring and nonsensical mechanic, but you are allowed to fight with it in combat when using a single-handed sword, although it eliminates any use for shields throughout the game which is equally baffling.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla had a ton to live up to, with Odyssey being a massive hit, and the fan feedback caused several things to be put back into the world. One of those things was the reappearance of the Hidden Blade. Not only was it back as the prime form to commit assassinations, but you could also once again use it in melee combat. The melee combat aspect was lazy at best, as you had to have your off-hand be empty and charge while attacking. The result is one attack animation that’s fairly useless, so you’re better off not using it at all.
Strategies for Using the Hidden Blade
Depending on the Assassin’s Creed series you’re playing, you will have different strategies for how best to utilize your tools. I’m going to outline some general strategies to keep you alive and effective in combat and stealth situations throughout the games.
Isolate and Attack
You’re no superhuman in these games, so while you might want to fight 10 guards at a time, you’re likely not going to be skilled enough to achieve this, so instead, try and follow guards or lure them into spots where they are all alone. Once this happens, either run up and use the Hidden Blade or if you’ve unlocked the air assassination upgrade. You can also just run right an isolated guard. If no other enemy is around, whether the guard is alerted or not, you will be able to take them out with a stealth attack using the Hidden Blade.
Learn How to Counter
In the early years of Assassin’s Creed games, you had to figure out the timing of countering when it came to melee combat. Learning to counter with the Hidden Blade unlocks an instant kill on just about any enemy, including story bosses. It’s a trickier timing than that of a sword; figuring it out is key to ending fights quietly and efficiently. You can counter multiple people with the Hidden Blade if you’re quick enough, taking out multiple enemies at once in battle. Games that have the double Hidden Blades give you the most options for melee combat, and many players choose to play the entirety of the games in this way.
Unlock and Unleash
There are tons of upgrades to find for the Hidden Blade, and each one will usually change how it works significantly. Some games will let you attack from afar with the Hidden Blade, such as Assassin’s Creed: Unity, where you can fire a Phantom Blade from a distance to perform an assassination. These upgrades take a bit of grinding to get usually but trust me, they are well worth it and open up a ton of possibilities when it comes to utilizing your Hidden Blade.
When performing the perfect assassination, you have to consider a few things. What are your surroundings? How many guards are there? How am I going to escape after I kill my target? You should try and thin the herd when it comes to guards in the area, taking out each with a Hidden Blade whenever they find themselves separated. It might take a while, but nobody said being an assassin is easy, and while you might want to go in guns blazing with swords and bombs everywhere, that strategy won’t be nearly as effective as just being patient with the Hidden Blade.
Utilize the Sprinting Assassination
Sometimes, you just might not be able to separate the herd, and when that time comes, you’re going to have to make your move and get ready to fight. While the guards that surround your target are usually tough, you should be able to figure out a way around them to get to the target. Most games in the series let you use a sprinting assassination that lets you take out your target with a swift charge and then continue your sprint right on out of there.
Question: Which Assassin’s Creed games use the Hidden Blade?
Answer: Most games in the series use the Hidden Blade, but there are a select few, such as Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, that skirt around, giving you the actual Hidden Blade and instead give you a pale imitation in the form of another kind of blade.
Question: Is Assassin’s Creed over?
Answer: The single-player series appears to be done for now, but an Assassin’s Creed game has been rumored for a while that will involve a persistent world and online mechanics, and needless to say, fans of the series are most disappointed with this development.
Question: Are Assassin’s Creed games multiplayer?
Answer: As far as multiplayer goes, the only true multiplayer game is Assassin’s Creed: Unity. There are games that use a somewhat connected world for a multiplayer experience, such as Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, where you can see landmarks created by players and even take on custom missions created by them as well.
The Hidden Blade is one of the coolest innovations in the gaming world in the past few decades, and although the series has gotten away from utilizing it lately as it’s gone a more action-focused route, both me and tons of fans of the franchise would love to see the series bring it back as a focal part of the gameplay rather than the afterthought its been for the past three entries.
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